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Future of Labs

Future of Labs

Dr Gereon Uerz
Europe Foresight Lead

Changing technology, work-life balance and growing competition for expertise will shape labs of the future

Science and research are key to addressing humanity’s biggest challenges, now and in the future. Creating the right spaces and environments for research to thrive is essential.

Scientific research ecosystem

The Future of Labs report provides an overview of the key trends shaping the future of scientific research that will be of use to planners, designers and administrators involved in laboratory design projects.

The scientific research ecosystem goes far beyond the physical spaces of laboratories. Among many things, it encompasses the people making research possible, the places where scientific discoveries happen, and the infrastructure required to sustain innovation. Only by recognising the extent of this ecosystem can we begin to understand the complex interactions between its people, spaces and contexts, and how the spaces we create can respond meaningfully to these diverse requirements and desires.

 

The report offers recommendations for the design of labs of the future:

  • Wellbeing and place: While scientific functionality will remain key, there will be a greater emphasis on user needs and experience
  • Adaptable spaces: Growing demand for highly adaptable spaces with a focus on technology infrastructure and digital connectivity
  • Digitalisation: Advances in AI and robotics will mean smart labs are here to stay, and cloud-based labs will enable researchers to connect in real-time
  • Networked spaces: Co-working, DIY spaces and living labs will provide researchers with access to equipment and the scientific community outside the institutional framework
  • From human-robot interaction to cloud labs, the future research ecosystem identifies the key elements that will shape the future of scientific laboratories.
Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris will bring together researchers from different disciplines, startups and established companies under a single roof to foster collaboration.
NiCoLA-B is a robot designed to work alongside scientists and autonomously performs highly complex experiments.
Illustration of the future scientific research ecosystem, which is increasingly shaped by a focus on collaboration, flexibility and a more open approach to science, both physically and intellectually.

More communication in the context of laboratory work is the key to innovation. Digital tools and devices that assist with the exchange of knowledge combined with large, light-filled and open spaces can create a positive working atmosphere.

Christian Hunzinger
Biotech CMC Program Lead, Merck (2017)

The Future of Labs report provides an overview of the key trends shaping the future of scientific research that will be of use to planners, designers and administrators involved in laboratory design projects.